Rob Waddell ONZM
Inspiring Gold Medalist / NZ Chef de Mission
Rob leads the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams as Chef de Mission. He was New Zealand's only Gold Medalist at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and has a long list of achievements in rowing and sailing and also off the water.
In 1995 Rob burst onto the New Zealand rowing scene as the youngest person ever to win the single sculls title at the New Zealand Championships; he did this as a novice sculler. The following two years, Rob won the World championships in Germany and Canada breaking records on the water. His rowing career was topped off by Olympic Gold at Sydney 2000.
Rob was the first recipient to win the Sportsperson of the Year Supreme Halberg Award for three consecutive years, a feat only shared by one other person - he's also been a key part of three America's cup sailing teams, since 2002, culminating in the nail biting performance that Emirates Team New Zealand produced in the recent final of the 2013 Americas Cup.
It's his stellar performances and personal attributes that gained his selection as Chef de Mission of the New Zealand Olympic team. He led them into the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and will follow on to the Rio Olympics in 2016.
As Chef de Mission, Rob leads the New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams. This leadership role sees Rob responsible for setting standards of excellence, overseeing the planning and preparation of the games management teams and ensuring the athletes and their NSOs have what they need to achieve within the complex Olympic and Commonwealth Games environments.
Rob has had a long and varied career in sport (and now administration) and he finds the same basic common themes for success keep re appearing. They are not complicated and they are things we can all relate to – Work Ethic, Quality, Leadership, Mental application and Team work. Whether it’s rebuilding Christchurch or building a sports team there are certain tenets, certain values and certain behaviours that are consistent. And as you hear his story, these consistent values will ring true with you.
In a less public arena, Rob has a number of other interests including a business degree with Honours and he is co-owner/manager for his own thoroughbred agistment business in Cambridge.
Rob has also given generously of his time for two charitable trusts; he is former chair of the Home of Cycling trust which is a $30 million national sporting centre in the Waikato and well as being a trustee for Te Awa; a significant regional cycle way alongside the Waikato river.
Rob attributes his motivation and work ethic, as much to his country upbringing in Piopio where his playground included the steep hills of the family sheep and cattle farm, his selection for the local Roller Mills Rugby team and later a homemade gym in his father's woolshed.
He is married to Olympian Sonia Scown and is a devoted father to their children.
Rob is a multi-talented New Zealander, sportsman, family-man and entrepreneur - he's an inspiring speaker who clearly articulates the parallels between business and sport to demonstrate what can be achieved with a clear vision, effective teamwork, and plenty of hard work!